Your office is taking the initiative to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment, now what does that mean? It means that there should be steps taken to create a workplace that is respectful of all people regardless of religious beliefs, ethnicity or various other backgrounds. There are a number of ways to improve a work environment to naturally support and foster diversity.
Policies and Programs
There are plenty of policies your workplace can introduce to respect the diverse group of people who are employed there. Whether it be in regards to clothing or mutual respect, these policies can make employees feel protected and safe. Diversity-driven policies are much broader than decades prior, meaning they encompass much more than just women and people of color. Your business should consider creating policies that include special training and development opportunities for minorities and women who show an aptitude for positions of leadership.
Affinity groups are another strategy for creating a support system of one or more groups of underrepresented workers that network and support each other’s professional goals and experiences.
It is important to have written policies that protect and encourage an inclusive work environment, but there are also measures to take that are simply respectful. For example, it is easy to assume that everyone loves a pepperoni pizza. Yet, there are people from religious backgrounds who cannot eat both dairy and meat in the same meal. Before ordering that pizza for your office for lunch, take into consideration those who may not eat pepperoni pizza for religious reason. This a simple way to promote respect and inclusion without hard-hitting policies.
Thinking proactively is such an important step in creating a naturally diverse office but it is also important to address and take a stand against any inappropriate behavior or comments that may make other feel unincluded. If you let it slide, you are then contributing to a non-inclusive work environment. The slight awkwardness of dealing with non-inclusive behavior will be more than made up by improving the overall atmosphere of the workplace.